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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 3, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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beneath it in your hands. .. will will it be important for
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our country, yes committal. it is something that we better move the needle on. [applause] >> i appreciate you doing this. and i think it is very interesting that you have drawn parallels between what is happening in this physical industrial revolution and the semiconductor revolution and the digital revolution talked about. one thing that i remember just from watching and going to the web, and i have read in history has to do the questions are already coming up. people are a little bit skeptical on what is happening in garages is relevant to manufacturing. the question this questions from the audience. while i completely understand
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the purpose of printing, you have way overstated what is or will ever be possible. i understand your logic, but those who do not will be disappointed. please comment. >> okay, so first of all, there is a whole difference in generations. laser cutters and embroidery machines and quilters and other things. sewing machines from sears, they are digital now. so green things are the ones that we gravitate towards. second of all, it is kind of mind blowing. let me explain a little bit more about how it works and 3-d
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printing is not a mass production technology. it is a great way to make one of something, which is good. perhaps you want something that is custom just for you and you don't want something mass-produced. right now the ones you buy at home, it is qaeda militants and that sort of squeeze it out. there are other ways, there are liquid resins and powders and etc. you can go to a website and you can -- they have more expensive printers and you can get things
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printed in titanium. stainless steel. the quality is astounding. ge 3-d prints turbine blades for jet engines. there are some limits as to what you can do with the a 3-d printer, but not many. the question is simply how long is it going to take? it took 15 years to get from a dot matrix printer where we are now. so how long it will take for the photo-quality because i don't think it's going to be 15 years. in part because it shares the same mechanical technologies. but the interesting stuff gets into materials. right now, we can be one color and plastic. the next one, we will do two colors and plastic advocates better resolution than the
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maximum we will be three and now you're starting to get, you know, be able to print images as well as shapes. the one after that, allows me to mix materials and maybe i can put the electrical wiring in along with a plastic and now i can use other substances like starch-based substances which is biodegradable. i had the privilege of talking to a biologist in new york and he is developing a dna printer. yeah, so we know how to sequence things pretty easily. the sequences are not hard. i can find them on ebay now. but printing out, to print the dna, it is a big tool.
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but every year we get our flu shots, right? we definitely will soon. we can guess what the flu is going to be this year. we never know. rather than at the beginning of the season the doctor says, actually, it turns out that influenza is the this or that end, here's a little code and print out your own vaccine. and, you know, you little liquid and drink it and that is a 3-d printer as well. that is printing dna, which is a physical material. you have to ask things like what could go wrong and questions to that effect.
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i think the only thing that stands in our way, i have seen a lot of elitist types of technology and i'm very impressed. i agree that you're not going to print them out anytime soon. but you can friends electronics and various sorts. i think it is pretty good on this we want to talk about effects on the economy and bringing manufacturing back i thought before we got to the macro, we can talk about the
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macro and micro effect in this kind of technology. >> all right. so when you have an idea and you printed out when you hold in your hand, you tweet about it and we think this is great. the good news is that i actually went back in 1977 i probably should have been even more fit to go to 1984. in 1985, the first laser printer from apple as well. we forget how mind blowing that
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was. publishing used to be something that you needed. now you can put it on your desktop. you can point and click and it has become high-quality professional staff. that is super exciting, but only a few of them. those printers spoke a language called postscript. it was the same language spoken by the biggest printers in the world. you can upload it to a printer and you really could publish it. that was kind of exciting. and then we did the same thing with the web. you can distribute as well.
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now we are doing the same thing with physical goods. rather than printing it, they added an additive technology. you can cut away that object. now you've made a mold and you can make millions of these. so in other words, to go from one to many, it is a matter of using the same file and isolating it in a different technology in a different place. i don't have a complex
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manufacturing. just upload your file, pick a credit card, and it will mass-produced up for you. it will work for you. >> it is pretty exciting. in the software world when we got to this continuously over you can test and iterate on a prototype quickly and take that exact same product from your dorm room at harvard all the way up to, you know, the public company, the same technology and the same underlying languages unleashing a whole new way of entrepreneurship. we have a lot of skeptics. in our big concern is how is this going to affect the future of american manufacturing. in the democratized world of the internet, listening this will result in fewer firms must choice for people and products that they have? if this is going to destroy and
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this will destroy traditional manufacturing, what are people going to do? >> wrote a book about what would happen when the entry into publishing go to zero, which is what the web did. the answer isn't created an explosion of choice. a lot of people became producers who couldn't have done so before. the biggest misunderstandings that was the the the big end to the blockbuster. it was the end of the monopoly to the blockbuster. recognizing that when you involve more people, they tend to find new initiatives and waste agrees to end their creativity can expand the potential in the culture and the economy.
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even though the web provides competition. what happens with manufacturing, i went from playing with legos to my kids in five years and i now have two batteries, one in tijuana and one in san diego. we have about 40 employees. we run very sophisticated machines. >> we have quite a few questions that people can understand. what business you have running a drone company? >> well, my wife is among them. the drone is just a flying robot. they have autopilot and gps and etc. and it is just something that you would perhaps be able to relate to. but back in the day, there were
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windsurfers and we all videos of them doing their extreme sports. but when you are windsurfing, target video of that. what you really want is a camera behind you that is focused on beautiful time. you can hire a helicopter to do this, but you know, it's pretty expensive and you better get up on the border you're going to be embarrassed. or you can have a robot camera follow you around. and that is what a personal drone is. just have a little box in your pocket called all in a box. it takes off, it comes over, the positions itself and follows you around. when the battery gets low, it goes back to the shore. you know, star wars, we can now have a personal jury. they're people out there doing
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it. so that is possible. i know this sounds very interesting, but remember, the internet was a military technology. computers were a military technology and now we understand personal applications. we are right there with jones as well. >> people did want to know what was a personal drone, so you're into that well. going back to the consequences of this, he wrote a book about how this will require a new financing method for developing these companies and funding them in a nontraditional way, a lot of questions about will they understand it. we have also seen the emergence of companies finding new accidental ways to bring financing into the economy. >> what does it look like from the financing point of view? >> i knew about digital publication in the web, i could
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see movement underway. but i didn't actually have an answer. but, you know, it's not always the best answer. how many people here have heard of the kickstart a project? okay. so that is fantastic and that is very telling. so one you were making movement, , it is basically a way to pre-order those sort of things to make it. it does three wonderful things. the first as it moves money forward in time of your you have
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a prototype of products, yes, you have the tools and you have manufacturing, all this money sunk into this government. only you have dumbness to raise money and you need the money now. you're not going to get paid until later. that is the first time, move money forward. they didn't raise $100,000 in brewers, that tells you it may not be successful if he were unsuccessful in doing that. some market research is
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wonderful and it is something you talk a lot about. it is the ability to lower the risk. it confirms that you have the minimum viable unit. and it builds community. that's the third thing. these people, they are part of a movement. they are evangelizing and you have an obligation to listen to them. this is a perfect example. people say they love it and they wish it was more waterproof. they say, all right, i would like more colors and thousands of comments and many have
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listened. and many have responded. and all of those people who have participated, and when i say that, it is a pre-order product. but because the way it was kick started, they are part of it. and so when it comes out, they will be a part of it. that is the answer, i think. that is one answer and there are still good options. friends and family, credit cards, you know, credit cards is not a bad way to bootstrap an operation. it is like selling things for more than a cost. >> this is like a 17th century, you know, an apple cart. the products have no intrinsic cost and the laboring with how
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we will come up with a business model. but with visible stuff, it's just super easy. you marketeer production cost, and people still get it wrong, but basically, it's not like calculus. the great thing about it is that if you set it up right, you get paid on day one. >> what is your favorite kickstart a project that you have. >> i do love the smart watch. i'm a bit of a technology junkie. will. >> i do actually like looking at the time on my wrist. >> the watch, i love it. it measures my activities and etc. and i love the fact that in the same week that we announced our smart watch, sony announced
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theirs. the fact that palo alto company could out compete sony is agreed experiment to watch. >> when we talk about the internet, it's all right to come out in the major movement. that level of innovation and the taste of engagement within the community. thinking about the other consequences of back, where the organizational forms those companies are a? are they going to have to borrow to get the bureaucracy and coordination techniques in order to compete on a head-to-head basis? are we going to see a new kind of company? >> i wish i could tell you that it is totally virtual and loosey-goosey but yes, you can start that way, but the moment you get into real production,
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suddenly you have huge respect for enterprise resource planning and rules and responsibilities and letters of credit to the bank and you learn, you basically get huge respect for traditional manufacturing very quickly. so are drawn community is open source. we are all out there, we are super transparent. we found out that we are basically starting to look like ge. people get hired and fired, we had accountants and lawyers and we have them for good reasons. when you deal with this kind of scale, you basically have to, you know, there is a reason why manufacturing we are pretty good at using technology and we find
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ourselves not reinventing were coming up with a radical new type of manufacturing, but more getting to where they already were and faster and not having to be a big company to do it. >> a change in what is required to get started, we keep coming back to that. we don't have to have the huge costs. the wonderful and then i would say, they bring it onto a very weblike way. it has to do with traditional manufacturing. >> absolutely. i would like to add that you are listening to the commonwealth of
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california radio program. chris anderson is discussing a new vision for manufacturing which brings the technology to the desktop. one thing i like about your business as this is a personal aspect that you share your story in. her number when i was a kid, i spent my summers in los angeles with my grandfather. thirty years earlier, i had certainly forgotten about it. and it all flashed back to me.
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and i realized that it had been in my blood all along. my grandfather was a swiss immigrant to los angeles in the 1920s and he worked in hollywood in mechanical business. at home he was an inventor and he did exactly they were fortunate to have these green lawns. with very elaborate sprinkler systems. they had to turn them off manually. you realize that realized that we needed to put a timer on this survey would be automatic. so he invented the automatic scraper system. so if you have my grandfather did that long ago and that is
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what he did. we got a box that said it was a kid to make a box powered engine. and i thought, okay, i have built model airplanes. numbers and instructions and we put it together, and i was like, where is the engine? and we literally did it. it was just stunning. and then i forgot about it for 30 years. the reason being is that i
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didn't have the skills. i was not the machinist. he could take an idea and go from a prototype to the real thing. i needed all the complexity did it turn into a black box. and that was my thing. but taking the art craftsmanship out of it, with the push of a button, that is what brought me back into it. then i realized it had been in my blood all along. here's what we do. i have three daughters. and we were a little strict about videogame time. they are allowed two hours per weekend day, and that is about it. the same is, is like a dollhouse thing. but it is really cool, homes and
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home furnishings and things like that. and then it was time for it to be over, and you have a real dollhouse commodity play with that. and they said it was not a school. dollhouse furniture is very expensive. it is all the wrong size, it turns out there is no standard dollhouse furniture scale. so you actually need to get dollhouse furniture a little bit smaller so the boss can sit on the couches. and i thought, no, i'm not buying anymore. it's not as cool as the sims. however, we went online and we
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found the most beautiful designs created by a woman. she designed sets for broadway. that is what she does by day. and by night she designed beautiful dollhouse furniture. and so we download them and we scale them. we print them out. and the girls make any dollhouse furniture that they want. anything we can imagine, and they paid them to make it a personal thing and the treasury the way they would never treasure something that was mass produced that you can get at wal-mart. they put him on showcase in their bedrooms. as you might imagine, they are thrilled. they can make it exactly they way they wanted and they painted and they treasure it in a way that they never would otherwise.
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we are all makers, but we are just waiting for the right tools. >> so goes back to the roots and nostalgia in the whole of the catalog and the original managers who ran the machine shops and they have a lot of questions about woodshop in other classes that have been removed from curriculum. old strain of american life and now has a resurgence from robots. when you make of that kind of domination? >> it is just machines. basically computers. you know, i think that, i think that we have an opportunity to tap that instinct in all of us. it allows us to share this work and inspire others.
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remember when we were kids and their parents got a home computer. >> and probably cost about $2000. wasn't quite clear what it was for. the programming has figured into it. so you would have a home, 3-d printer and it is pretty clear that the 21st century -- were not there quite yet. ..
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>> then they were not anymore, andy were replaced, but cuts and liability insurance, you know, it was dangerous, and they got wiped out, and i think we have an opportunity to bring it back in, not by reinstating traditional shop class, but by simply adding a couple 3-d printers to the computer lab we've got. add a 3-d printer to a computer lab, and you have a designing lab. to insert the word "design" into the curriculum, and not just design, but digital design, that's an opportunity to teach a
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21st century skill. the computer labs now teach kids powerpoints. if they can teach them mind track, they think it's a game, but it's a cad program. they can design it, print it out, and take it home, that's changing a kids' live making them -- blow their minds and realize that maybe design is something they could do, and maybe it's a small design, not a capital "d" design or require an advanced degree, but the point is we'll creating a generation of makers. that's when skills turn into curriculum creating industrial revolution to bring manufacturing back to the u.s.. >> uh-huh. >> it's really exciting. i mean, my parents had a home computer like you described, and that purchase changed my life. look at the story of successful internet entrepreneurs, work backwards, and why was mark a
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computer entrepreneur in college, because he was in the basement as a kid designing, same with bill gates. to create that opportunity -- >> if i'm right, somebody 20 years from me, what changed my life is the guy changed my life. >> that could be your kid. we have to deal with question is are you at all nervous about this? we talked about the positive effects, and i read a book about "kill decision," drones, cheap to manufacture, done anywhere by hobbyists, and can destroy -- i won't ruin it, nasty stuff, have the ability to make their own
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kill decision. they have torches that can disassemble a boat. nothing to see here, don't worry. >> a great book. it's his third book. daniel and i have been in touch. i'm not going to say it was modeled after our community, but it was informed by the knowledge of our community. i read the book, i was on a plane, actually, on my kindle, on the plane, and, you know, they served the meal. i had to close the laptop, reading the book, and, you know, irresponsible engineers create these killer drones, and they, you know, run amuck, and then they take the tray, and then i open the laptop and create my drone algorithm. wait, that's how it happened. should i close the laptop? no, if i don't do it, someone else would.
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i couldn't help myself. our swarms will be peaceful ones. we'll promote civil responsibility, but, you know, i don't know how to stop the march of technology, and all technologies. i probably should have shut the laptop, but i didn't. first of all, you know, we're not the only ones, there were a lot of people doing it, and we're in the community to have an opportunity to promote safe and responsible youth. we're hard core about not only telling people what's safe an responsible, don't weaponnize, a good start, but staying away from people, 400 feet, line of sight, that kind of stuff, and the other is we reached out to all the regulators, fbi, pent began, ect., and we said we have
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flown to washington, constantly briefed by the fbi saying you have to be in the community, we'll open up to everything. you need to know what's possible. it's not my job to regulate. it's not my job to enforce. it's my job to help the regulars and enforcers do their job better. we feel our responsibility is to bring entities we trust in protecting our safety, bring them into the process and allow them to see what's possible, spot the bad guys early. by the way, we have a deal if you say something in the community, if you, like, so, here's the drone idea, and, you know, it's going a real long distance, you know, a payload that could be dangerous. dude, that's is sketchy. we'll call up the friends in the fbi just like that. we told everybody we're going to do it, and we feel that's our responsibility is to let the, you know, let the pros do their
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job. >> do you think it's time for laws of robotics? >> the three laws of robotics are the rules that stop robots from killing. everybody brings this up, and for a robot to be smart enough to apply the three laws, they've already taken over the world; right? [laughter] that's really hard. that's artificial intelligence. turns out it's, like, just shooting guns, that's easy. robots are good at that stuff, but bad at reassuring people. that's not the way it's going to happen. we can't have -- we can't have robots with the intelligence to make ethical choices. we need to search society and cull qhur, what's what's going on, and evolve our regulatory and surveillance activity to stop it early. >> back to the technology, and there's questions about
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hobbyists, and you talked about the doctor e-mailing you, the dna for your vaccine. what if it was a spoof e-mail. e-mail is easy to spoof. ingest this, give it to your kids. worry about that? >> i talked to craig at length about this. right now, dna sint thinks is done by big companies. you can design a, you know, games on the internet, high school students do this, college students, design your dna sequence, send it to the labs, they graph it, and you get back a bile, the nda you invented. however, they are good at spotting bad stuff like smallpox for starters and general guidelines. you don't know how they work because they don't tell you. that wouldn't be safe. we trust them to protect us from that. okay, that's what a few companies, you know, doing all the work.
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what if they are on every desk top? craig venters says, well, what we're going to do is we're going to ensure there is, you know, intelligence in the machines that goes and does lookup, you know, sequence comes in, walk around the sequence, looks it up on the interpret, and it needs to, sort of, pass the test of not being dangerous, and only then does it print. buy a photocopier, there's intelligence this there to look for u.s. dollar, and i never tried to take a copy of the dollar bill, but it's supposed to detect currency and not let you do it or put a water mark on it. there's presence to suggest you can put technology in the machines to check bad stuff doesn't happen. if it's foolproof, probably not? could it be hacked? probably. that's craig's best answer to the question. >> you're sleeping find over these issues? >> you know, i -- i'm -- i'm, you know, i'm an optimist.
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b, i think we can never anticipate these things ahead of time. look, when i was a kid -- not a kiddings u -- kidding, but growing up, test tube babies were out there. remember test tube babies? the 7 os; right? >> uh-huh. >> i thought they were going to grow babies in test tubes. i thought they would be long and skinny. [laughter] i was confused about this. well, today, our baby sitters are test tube babies. we were playing god, messing with nature, designing, super scary, and we did it, and, oh, that's not so scary. right now, i say "clones," and, oh, no, that would be wrong, but clone is where a test tube baby was 25 years ago. i think basically as with any radical technology, we have to try it out, you know, see how we feel, dip the toes into it, probe a little bit, and, you
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know, adapt how we feel about it based on social norms and demonstrated risks. >> cool for me to think the three laws of robotics have to apply as ethical standards to the community, nothing to do with the robots, but a difficult challenge to us, civilization. >> exactly. what do we know? we can't predict where technology's going. we can't stop technology because it's fully democktized. we can learn, try it on for size, see where it goes, and adopt as a society and as governments to real threats rather than imagined ones. >> feeling optimistic again. now, i remember when, you know, when i was learning about the history of the internet, early internet adopter, grew up programming computers, in the dot-com bubble, feeling like i basically missed the boat on the technology revolution, all the great companies already founded, nothing else to build or work on, and, of course, i was an idiot, didn't see the
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possibilities of social web and everything in the last 10-12 years and billions of dollars created. we must have some people listening to this now feeling like, well, the book's been written, and the movement is underway. that person saying maybe they missed the boat, how do they catch up and get started? >> you know, first of all, i hope no one thinks that. it is, you know, we're looking at the biggest industry in the world which -- they've been touched by technology, but not by the social models of the web. you know, what we have here, what the web taught us is the missing space, the missing markets, where the markets are down, you know, we knew how to reach markets of 10 million. that was hollywood. we knew how to reach markets of 10. that was in our community, and, you know, but we didn't know how to reach 10,000, and along comes the web, and the long tail, all of this stuff, and some of those markets of 10,000 become markets of 10 million, but we found a
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place for the specific minority tastes and think of how many markets of 10,000s are there in the world. we see it already in thed fu. if you live in brooklyn, you know about markets of 10,000. you realize peoplement, as they are discriminating in tastes, informed with their choices, they move out of mass markets towards niches just right for them and willing to pay more for it. that's arian tis mall stuff. hand crafty. take the appeal of that, the technology of the industrial, and then the distribution models of the etsy's and kick starters of the world, and you have a way to find the market of 10,000s, and they don't have to be 10,000 in one city, but a global market to 10,000. how much niches that don't make sense for mass manufacturing, don't make sense for, you know, your little workshop, but they are now reachable with, you know, the industrialization movement. >> on that note, i wanted to
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read something you wrote towards the end of the book saying the maker movement tilts the balance towards cultures with the best innovation model, not the cheapest labor. societies embrace co-creation or development win. they are # unbeatable for harn necessarying the best talent. they have the most web communities flourish and innovative companies grow. those are the values that predict success in the market, and a lot of the questions we got were about, you know, silicon valley in san fransisco became the center of the digital revolution, where should we look for the center of the maker revolution? we have a lot of people listening in from around the world thinking if i i want my city to be the silicon valley, what are the steps we should be taking to foster that kind of innovation and growth? >> well, you know, fist of all, the great thing about any movement is it's not a-center. it's everywhere. one of the cool surprises of the last five years is that brooklyn
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or new york turned out to be as much a center of the movement as san fransisco has. why? i mean, how is it possible that we're bringing, you know, manufacturing to brooklyn. surely it's not about low cost labor. as tools are smaller, smart e and cheaper, it's less and less about manufacturing, but more and more about designs, the idea, the creativity, the human component, and what new york is the design center of america, more than anywhere else. new york's design skills compensate for labor costs inefficiencies, and that's, i think that's fantastic you can move manufacturing to where the most creative and smarter people are. you don't have to move manufacturing to the lowest cost labor or moves to brown sites, or waste lands, but to where people live, have ideas, and
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have needs. it's a short r supply chain, just in time manufacturing, contact between the way things are made and consumed. it's a better ecological footprint. >> yeah. time for a last question, and i know whenever you open questions up, it's the power of the interpret and distributed anything, you have a whacky question. >> decide to end on that? >> if you don't mind. i like it a lot. i love to see this scenario. software tools on earth used by people to design cool stuff, #*d # printers on the moon, using local material, how realistic is it, and what stuff would be produced up there? >> that's star trek replicators. what you have, and member, there's a box. the box has, like, presumably feed stock of various sorts. i don't know if they were atoms or molecules. >> never specified.
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>> viles and goo that you say you want something, and it would just download the recipe, mix them in the right proportions, fab fabricate them in the right layers, assemble the stuff, and then, poof, you got it. it's the assembly, atomic construction. it doesn't violate the laws of physics, i don't know how you do it, but it could be done. >> how far away is that? >> pretty far off, maybe it wouldn't be that hard, but, you know, so in that model, it's atonic assembly. every cell in your body does this already. we have a hard time creating machines that do it, but biology's a fantastic factory taking, you know, instructions, called dna, assemble commodity
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proteins and molecules, and create the most extraordinary machinery we've seen. >> well, thanks. [laughter] >> we know how to do it, but i think the answer's got to be less about machinery and more about harnessing the lessons of biology, and just, you know, creating bilogical factories. biology is a design challenge. >> reporter: thanks to chris magazine, and we thank our audiences here, on radio, television, and the internet. we also remind everybody that copies of chris' new book, "makers" the industrial revolution" are on sale in the lobby. he'll be pleased to sign them in the lobby immediately following the program. we appreciate you allowing him to get to the signing table as quickly as possible. i'm eric reese, and now this meeting of the commonwealth of california, the place where you're in the know is adjourned.
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[applause] >> what we're well never for is our scwiky floors. we have these great old wood floors that make a ton of noise, and our customers love it. we, now know, it's lost on us why it's wonderful because we listen to it all day long, but, you know, it's the character. we're not a super slick box store kind of look, you know, and i think people, you know, the squeaky floors remit that,
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it's this kind of real old kind of store, like, you don't get in a lot of communities anymore. we're an independent bookstore, been here since 1973, and i've owned the store since 2006 along with my husband, robert, and it was opened by michael in 1973 # across the street, and it's been part of the community ever since. they moved the store after a flood in 1992 when the old store was flooded, it was time to expand and start in a fresh space, and they moved here so it's been here ever since, and it's really a community bookstore. people have been coming here since the beginning. kids have grown up here, and we definitely like being part of the community that way. i don't think you can find too many towns of 8,000 people that support three bookstores. in fact, one time we had five bookstores all within a stone's throw of each other, and you don't find that have many places
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anymore. you know, mostly independent bookstores close around the country. some communities are supporting more and opening stores, but a lot of them are closing. you know, a lot of stores have been in business for 40 years like us are not surviving changes of ownership and retierms and things like that. this is a community that values books, reading, we have a lot of writers, and it's also a community beyond that that values independent stores. there's not a lot of big box stores or malls around here, and it really makes a huge difference. if a barnes & noble came in 20 years ago, i don't know if we'd be here, but it didn't, and, you know, there are certainly, there's borders and barnes & noble nearby, but this community got long before the buy local and shop local movement started, this community understood that if you want a bookstore in town, you had to shop at the
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bookstore, not barnes & noble, and, you know, and say that you love this store, which, i think, is a problem. people definitely say they support their stores, but when you purchase elsewhere, you're not really supporting the store. this community just really understood that from the beginning, and we've had people, people come in here all the time and say i looked this book up online, but i want to buy it from you. we hear that all day long, every day, and, you know, i liked it up on the internet, but i'd never buy it this. they make sure to tell us, and we appreciate that. it's that attitude that keeps us in business because if we didn't -- if we didn't have that, we would not be here. >> [inaudible] >> i think, yeah, bear pond's been very involved in the community, you know, from small things to, like, we sort of are a ticket agent to activities in town, school plays, chamber orchestra concerts we sell tickets for. we -- we have become supportive,
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the arts, in that way, and we also bring a lot of people in to talk to us, and we're also, you know, on local boards and involved with the local downtown organization, and we're involved with local schools and supporting activities they have there, and so some's monetary and others is just helping out. we are definitely reliant on our community. the writing, the readers, the writers, the people who just support independent stores, but there's a great writing community in vermont, and in the area, and we have the vermont college of fine arts up the street that has writing programs for both adults and children and creative writing, and so customers, the first place they go when they come in is our best seller table up front, the independent book sellers best sellers list, and it's a survey
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of independent book sellers across the country. it's not the same as the usa today or "new york times," but, of course, there's overlap. it's what independents sell the most of. people go straight there, to the new releases table, and over to staff picks from out of nowhere, and there's not a big publisher or a lot of publicity, but we definitely rely on the local writers to keep things vibrant and interesting around here. you'll see a lot of local authors on our front table on display, and we also work with the local college when they have visiting professors in, and they have residency programs that come in. very good writing, very powerful, it's told in the plural first person. >> am i going to like that?
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>> a good number of best sellers come from the staff's picks table, and each staff members have customers who read what you suggest, and so, you can't recreate that with an algorithm online. it's just -- it's just not the same thing as talking to people and having somebody say i loved it because, you know, i think you're going to love it because of this, and you can't get that other places. the biggest challenge owning an independent bookstore these days is definitely competition from the internet, both from online marketplace and the whole e-book e-reader phenomena that's very popular, and it's definitely affecting us. a lot of people, a lot of the
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regular customers, like i said, they love us, they support us, but then they are like, yeah, but i got this nook, and -- or i got an ipad, and it's easy to get a book. we have lost customers that way. a lot of people buy e-books from us through our website that's enabled, but not everybody does. we have lost customers that way, or we don't lose customers, just they don't buy as much as they used to. we see the same people, but purchases are not as high as it used to be. it's a question of how are we going to survive in this new environment, you know, publishing is in a procare yows position in some ways, and a lot of bookstores in procare yows positions. how will we survive that? we think about that all the time. there's no resting on your laurels, even if you're been here 40 years. we are constantly trying to change and adapt and stay on top of things. you know, like, adding e-books to the website and having a
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website that you can order any kind of books on, all something we work on all the time, you know, we're on facebook now, bringing in new products all the time. we have more things that are non-book items in the store that people really enjoy for gift giving that we pay careful attention too. we definitely have to stay on top of things to make sure we're checking what's the next place we should be going and not just assuming they will keep coming. it is very important to keep the bookstores because where are you going to browse if the bookstores close? there's not going to be, you know, box stores are going away to some extent, certainly for books. where will you browse for books? i personally don't want amazon controlling the entire publishing industry. without independent bookstores, that's the power house, and they are not book people. they are internet people, and i don't think we want them making
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decisions on what gets published and what gets out to the public, advertised to the people, and i see that as a great trend. if you want the independent bookstore in your community, go shop there in your community. it might not stay there forever while you shop op line or doing something convenient, but you can go online and have an algorithm tell you what to read next, but that's not compared to going into a store, browsing, finding something unexpected, finding something new by a favorite author that you didn't know about, coming into a store that's natural and just growing organically, has a real personal feel of the people who work here. >> for more information on this and other cities visited by c-span's local content vehicles, visit


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